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Yahoo maps its own way

Internet giant Yahoo has announced that it has developed its own software platform for offering maps and driving directions online, abandoning the service previously provided by MapQuest.com.

Yahoo Maps is now integrated into nearly 20 of the company's Internet properties including its real estate and phone directory Web sites. Changes to the service are mostly in the software and navigation features that power the system, and users are not expected to notice a difference, the company said.

"Basically, we moved Yahoo Maps in-house based on the fact that we wanted to have a lot more flexibility and control over how we use it," said Andrew Braccia, director of business development for Yahoo's listings division. Yahoo had employed the MapQuest service for close to four years, he added.

"Yahoo Maps is a very core technology to the Yahoo network. When we have something that is that important we want to make sure that we have control over it," he said.

Yahoo is at least the second major customer to take its online map service in-house at the expense of MapQuest, which is owned and operated by AOL Time Warner. Microsoft announced its new MSN MapPoint service in January, replacing the MapQuest service previously available through its network of Web sites.

In addition to Yahoo's own in-house development, Yahoo Maps makes use of map databases provided by Navigation Technologies and Geographic Data Technology. Some of the software that runs the service was proved by Telcontar and Sagent Technology. The service has been under development since the second half of last year, Braccia said.

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